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Sticking to your plan: The role of present bias for credit card paydown

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  • Kuchler, Theresa
  • Pagel, Michaela

Abstract

We use data from an online financial service to show that many consumers fail to stick to their self-set debt paydown plans. This behavior is best explained by present bias. Our empirical approach is informed by a parsimonious model showing that the sensitivity of spending to paycheck receipt reflects a present-biased agents short-run impatience, and that this sensitivity is reduced by available resources only for agents who are aware (sophisticated) of their future impatience. Classifying users accordingly, we find that (i) sophisticated users debt paydown decreases with short-run impatience, and that (ii) planned paydown is most predictive of actual paydown for sophisticated users.

Suggested Citation

  • Kuchler, Theresa & Pagel, Michaela, 2021. "Sticking to your plan: The role of present bias for credit card paydown," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 139(2), pages 359-388.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:139:y:2021:i:2:p:359-388
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jfineco.2020.08.002
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    Cited by:

    1. Benedict Guttman-Kenney & Christopher Firth & John Gathergood, 2022. "Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL)...On Your Credit Card," Papers 2201.01758, arXiv.org, revised Mar 2022.
    2. Asli Elif Aydin, 2022. "Psychological and demographic factors influencing responsible credit card debt payment," Journal of Financial Services Marketing, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 27(1), pages 17-26, March.
    3. Marieke Bos & Chloé Le Coq & Peter van Santen, 2022. "Scarcity and consumers’ credit choices," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 92(1), pages 105-139, February.
    4. Lukas, Moritz & Nöth, Markus, 2022. "Voluntary minimum repayments and borrower heterogeneity: Evidence from revolving consumer credit," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 135(C).
    5. Antonia Grohmann & Jana Hamdan, 2021. "The Effect of Self-Control and Financial Literacy on Impulse Borrowing: Experimental Evidence," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1950, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    6. Werthschulte, Madeline & Löschel, Andreas, 2021. "On the role of present bias and biased price beliefs in household energy consumption," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 109(C).
    7. Andrej Gill & Florian Hett & Johannes Tischer, 2022. "Time Inconsistency and Overdraft Use: Evidence from Transaction Data and Behavioral Measurement Experiments," Working Papers 2205, Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz.
    8. Gill, Andrej & Hett, Florian & Tischer, Johannes, 2022. "Time inconsistency and overdraft use: Evidence from transaction data and behavioral measurement experiments," SAFE Working Paper Series 347, Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Credit card paydown; Present bias; Hyperbolic discounting; Sophistication; Naivete;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G51 - Financial Economics - - Household Finance - - - Household Savings, Borrowing, Debt, and Wealth
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D15 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Intertemporal Household Choice; Life Cycle Models and Saving
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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